“I trust in nature for the stable laws of beauty and utility. Spring shall plant and autumn garner to the end of time.”
—Robert Browning (1812–1889)
Between the Gay Graves Tour on October 5th and its October 12th version, one short week’s span, some of the trees at Green-Wood Cemetery had begun to turn color; the leaves of other trees had already gone brown and fallen to the ground.
The sky was deep blue. One Tour guest called it a 9|11 sky, sad but true. The sun shone brilliantly, without competition from clouds. It was a perfect day for a walk in a rural cemetery. The word ‘cemetery’ comes from the Greek for place of rest. It was restful for us and for thousands of visitors who would visit Green-Wood in the mid-19th century on just such a day. They would picnic, ride in carriages, and stroll the paths. Without New York’s Central Park, without Brooklyn’s Prospect Park citizens of these two cities took the free fresh and sunshine at the first purposely-landscaped acreage in the area, Green-Wood Cemetery.
Acorns had fallen everywhere. Life’s cycle continues; dormancy awaits to burst forth with new life. The Gay Graves Tour will not be seen again until the trees’ leaves are green and the Kwanzan cherry trees at Green-Wood are in full pink bloom.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
―from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.” ―John Donne (1572–1621, English poet)
“Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”
―William Cullen Bryant (1794–1878, American romantic poet and journalist)
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
―from The American Notebooks, 10.October.1842 by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864)
PHOTOS AND TEXT © THE AUTHOR